Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cafe in the Bluff.

Bluff City Cafe

281 East Main
Bluff, Utah, 84512

(435) 672-9956


Reed Sampson of Fattboyz Grillin fame has once again been able to take over one of the many failed restaurants of his area, and turn it to his advantage. The former San Juan River Kitchens is now the site of the new Bluff City Cafe; featuring a scaled down version of the menu from Fattboyz, but new recipes are in the works to attract the tourists, and artists group known to frequent the Bluff area. The addition of a liquor license will allow the Cafe to serve beer and wine to its diners; a much asked for commodity in this rather "dry" area encompassing the strict "NO alcohol" policy of the City of Blanding; and its influence on the eateries of Monticello also.

The Cafe includes diner type seating with a counter and stools; while tables allow for intimate two person seating to larger groups. Works from local artists decorate the walls; and the dining area itself is open and airy.

We started off our meals with BBQ Chicken Wings; fried crispy texture on the outside with tender meat inside; a delicious, tangy barbeque sauce coating the chicken, but not overwhelming it. Most meals come with a choice of soup or salad; and we chose the salad which is generous in portion for a side.

My husband stayed with a chicken theme for the evening by ordering the Fried Chicken dinner. Three pieces of single batter dipped chicken; the coating so light and crispy, it could be its own appetizer. The chicken pieces were large and meaty, perfectly cooked, juicy and let me stress this...NOT greasy! The side of mashed potatoes were Fattboyz own signature garlic red skinned potatoes.

I enjoyed the special for the evening, the Ribeye Steak dinner; a large, tender steak with a wonderful charcoal flavoring. I ended up taking half the steak home and my hubby got to enjoy a lovely steak and eggs breakfast the next morning. I too had those yummy mashed potatoes.

We treated ourselves to a slice of raspberry cheesecake and wonderful conversation with Juelz Sampson (Reed's sister) and her husband Yock.

Coming back from a trip to Monument Valley or Arizona; looking for a good meal, welcoming atmosphere and friendly people....don't look further than the Bluff City Cafe.

Mary Cokenour

UPDATE:  Owner announced that this restaurant is out of business as of August 23, 2013.

Bluff City Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More to Corn than just the Cob.

Corn is that versatile vegetable that can be used to make a variety of food stuffs such as grits, polenta, tortillas, bread; nevermind side dishes such as corn pudding, succotash or an added ingredient to casseroles. Roasted or boiled on the corn is one of the most popular summer time favorites for a barbequed feast. Don't forget popped corn as a snack for movie watching, but what about as a batter dipped, deep fried goodie. No, I'm not talking about corndogs; I'm talking about corn nuggets.

Creamy, corny goodness encased in a deep fried coating similiar to that on a corndog, but without the meat. I've had them in a restaurant as an appetizer; they can just be a great snack food; or served as a side dish for a simple meal such as burgers, even at a barbeque. While you might be able to find them in the frozen food section of a supermarket, you're better off just making them fresh at home. Give them a try!

Corn Nuggets


1 (14 ¼ oz) can creamed style corn
1 (14 ¼ oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
¾ cup cornmeal
¾ cup flour
2 egg whites
3 Tbsp milk
¼ tsp each salt
Canola oil for frying


In a small bowl, mix together both cans of corn; line a jelly roll pan with wax paper; spoon tablespoons of mixture onto wax paper and freeze until firm (about 3 hours).

Fill a deep fryer to fill line, or a deep skillet to one inch, with oil; bring temperature up to 350F. While oil is heating, in a medium bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, egg whites and salt thoroughly. Dip frozen corn into the batter and then deep fry, 4-5 at a time, until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain; serve as is or with assortment of sauces.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Options: before freezing, add to corn mixture, ¼ cup of crisp, crumbled bacon; petite diced bell peppers, chile peppers or onions; or a combination of ingredients.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Versatile Chocolate Chip Cookie.

The birth of the recipe for chocolate chip cookies was in the 1930's by Ruth Graves Wakefield; owner of the Toll House Inn of Massachusetts.  The chocolate chip cookies became a tried and true recipe by which all other chip recipes stood by; including bar cookies.  This is truly an American icon!

Imagine it; just using one simple recipe, but adding a variety of different chips, dried fruits, nuts, even candy pieces; you can create a multitude of delicious cookies.  To the basic recipe I'll be giving you, just add one cup of one item, or a mixture of several; want to be a little more precise, so long as whatever you're putting in adds up to the extra cup; you are good to go bake and eat.

Then there is the size of the cookie; petite one inchers to as large as a twelve inch pizza pie; take a little decorator's icing in a tube and write a message for a special occasion.  Press the dough out into a rectangular baking dish, score lightly with a knife and bake; while in the cooling process, complete the scores with a clean knife to create cookie bars. 

The basic recipe does contain white and brown sugars, but with baking products on the shelf made from Splenda or Truvia; even a diabetic can have a chocolate chip cookie treat.  What about the sugar in the chocolate you ask?  Hershey's has come out with sugar free chocolate baking chips; adding chopped nuts helps to keep blood sugar and pressure at a steady level.  Every little bit helps when you want a treat, but have to watch those carbs.

Well my freshly baked cookies are cooled and can go in sealable containers; of course a couple will accidently fall into my mouth.  So here's the basic recipe and have fun making your own chocolate chip cookies.  Enjoy!

The Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional or add another ingredient)


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Pan Cookie Variation: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Makes 4 dozen bars.

Slice and Bake Cookie Variation:

Prepare dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Female Appendages aka Ladyfingers

An Italian dessert that is craved at many restaurants is Tiramisu. While it is an easy to make at home dessert also, it is not always an easy task to find the needed components of mascarpone and ladyfingers. Now when I posted my recipe for Tiramisu, I also posted instructions on creating a faux mascarpone; that's for when you cannot possibly find the authentic cheese at your local market.

Ladyfingers, on the other hand and no pun intended, are a whole other story. These crisp cookies, or sometimes called biscuits, are similiar in form to Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. They are made from a sponge cake batter, but more flour is added to make the batter firm enough to hold its shape aftering being piped onto cookie sheets for baking.

The recipe for Ladyfingers that I'll be posting for you comes directly from one of the best sources of baking know-how, "The Joy of Baking".

Joy of Baking Tested Recipe for Ladyfingers


1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour, sifted
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated white sugar
Powdered (icing or confectioners) sugar for dusting the tops of the cookies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. To make the piping of the cookies easier, use a pencil and ruler to divide the parchment paper into three - 3 inch (7.5 cm) rows, with about 1 inch (2.54 cm) between rows. Have ready a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) round tip.

In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) white sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.

In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3 tablespoons (36 grams) white sugar and whip until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.
Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and, holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter into 3 inch (7.5 cm) long ladyfingers, using the lines drawn on the parchment paper as your guide. Pipe the batter leaving about a 1 inch (2.54 cm) space between the cookies.

When you have piped all the cookies, place the powdered sugar in a wire strainer, and lightly sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but barely browned and are still spongy when pressed with a finger.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and slide the parchment paper from the baking sheets onto a wire rack. Let the ladyfingers cool for a few minutes and release them from the parchment paper, with a flat spatula, while they are still warm. If you left them completely cool before removing them from the parchment they stick and hard to remove without breaking. Finish cooling the ladyfingers on the wire rack before using or storing. If you are not using the ladyfingers right away, freeze them. Ladyfingers stale very quickly unless they are soaked in a liquid. To store, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen 3 inch (7.5 cm) Ladyfingers.

Have fun making these cookies and especially making Tiramisu.

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dim Sum - Adventures into Chinese Delectables

My son William has decided to go back to Pennsylvania for a week to revisit with friends and his grandmother. Of course he cannot keep from bragging how he is going to be enjoying all the food stuffs I had to leave behind; and cannot get anywhere in the area we live now.  We've racked our brains trying to figure out how to package up some of the items, so he can bring them on the plane. Knishes, oh to be able to have them again; piping hot with spicy brown mustard.

There is one place I miss so very, very much and that is the Chinatown area of Philadelphia. We always went to one particular restaurant for Dim Sum, Chow Fun and an assortment of Chinese dishes. The owners knew us by name and would prepare dishes for us that they served to the residents of Chinatown; not from the menu given to tourists. I've tried finding their information online, but no luck, and it has been over 4 years since we were last there, so perhaps they are no longer in business.

The most fantastic place to visit in a Chinatown area is a bakery, filled with all manner of delectables, including Dim Sum. My very favorite place was "Hong Kong Bakery Shop" located at: 917 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107. We would always order up two dozen roast pork buns, plus a number of other items, such as custard buns, moon cakes and egg custard tarts.

So as an ode to these wonderful memories, I have found information on making roast pork buns; and one of these day I hope to find a copy of the book it comes from. Also to become brave enough to attempt making Dim Sum myself.

This recipe comes from: “The Dim Sum Book: Classic Recipes from the Chinese Teahouse” by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo.


2 – 2 1/2 pounds lean pork butt
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon blended whiskey
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 small cake, wet preserved bean curd from a jar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

Cut the pork into 1-inch thick strips. Using a small knife, pierce the meat repeatedly at 1/2-inch intervals to help tenderize it.

Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to dissolve the bean curd and honey. Place sliced and tenderized pork into a large, resealable plastic bag and pour the mixture over the top. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the meat, making sure to coat each piece well. Refrigerate the pork for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight.

Preheat the oven to broil. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the pork, along with marinade, in a single layer along the bottom. Place the roasting pan on the center rack of the oven and roast for 30 to 50 minutes, turning and basting the meat every 5 minutes, until fully cooked. If the sauce begins to dry out, add water to the pan. To check for doneness, place an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of one of the pieces of pork. It should register 160°. Allow the meat to cool and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.


1 cup onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cup char siu pork , cut into 1/2 inch, thinly sliced pieces
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 teaspoons white wine
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoons ketchup
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of white pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 ounces chicken broth
1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a small bowl, whisk to combine the oyster sauce, dark soy, ketchup, sugar, white pepper, cornstarch and chicken stock. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat for 30-4o seconds. Add peanut oil and heat until shimmering and just beginning to smoke slightly. Add onions, turn the heat to low and cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the sliced pork, raise the heat to high and stir-fry to combine with the onions. Add white wine to deglaze the pan and mix well.

Lower the heat again and add the reserved sauce mixture from the bowl. Stir until the entire mixture thickens and turns a dark shade of brown, about 5 minutes. Add sesame oil and mix well. Remove the pork mixture from the skillet and spread on a large plate to allow the mixture to quickly come to room temperature. Refrigerate uncovered for 4 hours.


1 package dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water (115°)
2 cups high-gluten bread flour
1/2 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Place the bowl in a warm place to allow the yeast to activate, about 30-60 minutes. A brownish foam will have formed on top. Add the flour, egg and lard/shortening and stir continuously with your hand until a dough mass begins to form.

Begin to gather the dough in the bowl, and when the mixture becomes cohesive, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface for kneading. Knead the dough for about 15 minutes, picking it up with a scraper and sprinkling the surface with more flour if it begins to stick.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a large mixing bowl and cover with a lightly dampened towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it has tripled in size, about 2-3 hours.


Cut 12 squares of parchment paper, 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead several times. Roll it out with your hands into a roll about 12 inches long. Using a knife or a scraper, divide the dough into 12 1-inch pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others under a damp kitchen towel.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then, with fingers, press on the center of the sphere to create a dome and a well. Place 2 teaspoons of filling into the well, hold the bun in one hand, and, with the other, turn the bun while gathering the edges and pinching it closed. Press firmly to seal. Place the completed bun, sealed-end-down on a square of parchment paper. Repeat for the other buns.

Place all of the completed buns on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart to allow for expansion. Put the buns in a warm place to allow to rise for another 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a spray bottle, spray each bun lightly with warm water and then brush each with beaten egg.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through baking to promote even browning. When the buns are golden brown, remove them from the oven and serve immediately.

The buns can be frozen after baking. To reheat, defrost and bring to room temperature. Cover with foil and place in a 350° oven for 10 15 minutes or until hot.

Makes 12 buns

Mary Cokenour

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fattboyz has Seafood Fest.

Culinary student, Leon Sampson, showed us what he can do with seafood this past Thursday and Friday nights at Fattboyz Grillin. Let me tell you first that I finally got to speak with Leon; he is soft spoken, but his face lights up when talking about food. He goes back to school soon to continue his training in the culinary arts this fall; and he and I both agree that he's meant for bigger ideals. Whether he is working at a 4 or 5 star restaurant in one of the big cities such as Salt Lake City; or in one of the posh resorts just outside of Moab; haute cuisine is more his style.

There were two appetizers offered; first was a shrimp cocktail encompassing tempura style shrimp with Cajun seasoning around the rim of a glass containing gazpacho. Gazpacho is a chilled soup of Spanish origin containing vegetables that have been ground up finely. As soon as the plate was set down you could immediately smell the cool cleaness of the soup itself. While I am personally not a big fan of this type of soup, it went well spooned onto crispy tortilla chips, or as an accompanying sauce for the shrimp which was perfectly fried, fat and luscious.

Next came Spicy Crab Cakes with a lime chipotle sauce; the crab cakes were a mixture of lump and flaked crab; finely diced vegetables including spicy chile peppers. Fried on the grill top to give a crispy crust; each bite was a smooth pleasure of crab with just a touch of heat. However, the lime chipotle sauce increased the heat within the mouth; so eventually you lost that crab flavor. Sometimes a little just goes way too far; I voiced my opinion to Leon and he understood fully my concern.

The main course was a Grilled Salmon with Fattboyz famous garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. Alright, I'll admit it now, I didn't have the asparagus, anyway..... The salmon was perfectly cooked; the creamy flesh flaked smoothly and while the taste from the grilling was the only seasoning it needed; I would have loved more of those lovely grilled tomatoes Leon used as a garnish. So wonderfully good with the flavor of the salmon. The mashed potatoes? Well I could go on and on about them as I am a mashed potatoes fanatic; and I should have gotten a large order to go.

When Fattboyz Grillin has their specialty nights, and you don't attend; complete fool is the label you should be wearing on your lapel.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Picture, Deconstruct, Construct, Eat.

A question I get asked sometimes is, "How do you come up with your recipes?" One of the ways is by working backwards; first I picture the completed dish in my mind's eye. Then I mentally deconstruct it via ingredients and cooking techniques. I write it all down, so as I now attempt to construct the recipe from scratch, I can make adjustments and notes. After the actual dish is completed, I eat it and see how I did. Nine times out of ten; it's a winner. Picture, deconstruct, construct and eat.

So it went with this latest recipe from my mind's eye, Ground Beef Enchiladas. I was originally going to be lazy and just make a simple meatloaf. No, I couldn't do that, as I knew I needed to keep trying out new recipes to keep this blog fresh. Next thing I thought about was having Mexican, but what to make? Then the picture in my mind came and a recipe was born.

For the enchilada sauce, I used the recipe from my Chicken Enchiladas, but I increased the tomato sauce to 30 ounces, the cream to 3/4 of a cup which made for a redder in color, not as creamy sauce.

Oh, little hint here; don't forget to spray both dishes with the nonstick cooking spray. In my haste, I forgot to do one of the dishes; happily only one of the enchiladas stuck badly. What a relief!

Ground Beef Enchiladas


2 lb lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
1 cup diced onion
2 Tbsp crushed dried cilantro
1 tsp crushed dried Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp mild New Mexico chili powder
1 ½ cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups canned whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
3 cups canned diced tomatoes; drained and divided in half
½ cup diced chile peppers (mild, medium or hot)
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
4 cups enchilada sauce
1 (12 oz) bag shredded Mexican cheese mix


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and onion together until meat is no longer pink; drain any excess fat. Mix in cilantro, oregano, chili powder, beans, corn, half the tomatoes and chile peppers; let cook together for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F; spray a 4 quart and 3 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread one cup of meat mixture in center of tortilla.

Fold up two sides until they meet and overlap ¼ of an inch.

Fold up top and bottom over seam to make an almost square packet, being careful not to split the tortilla; place in baking dish seam side down. Six will fit in the 4 quart; 4 in the 3 quart comfortably. (Not one of them complained of overcrowding)

Pour 3 cups enchilada sauce over all the packets; spread cheese over evenly; pour remaining sauce overall.

Sprinkle remaining half of tomatoes overall. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for one hour. They will puff up slightly from the steam generated in the covered dish; and it's a beautiful thing to behold.

Makes 10 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stir Fry or Soup; it's Both.

This week's Bountiful Basket had an extra veggie pack, if you decided to purchase it, with an Asian theme.  Inside was a beautiful head of Chinese cabbage, also called Napa cabbage; green onions, ginger root, garlic and two of my all time favorites; Bok Choy and snowpea pods. Oh you know I was wokking this weekend!

It just happened I had also gone grocery shopping at the WalMart in Cortez, Co; purchased some shrimp and a pork tenderloin. The pork was simply seasoned with ginger, garlic and teriyaki sauce; roasted and ready for slicing. The fun part was cooking in my wok; the hard part was coming up with a name for the dish. With the ingredients, it was "Shrimp, Pork, Asian Vegetables...."; with the techniques it continued with "...Stir Fried Soup". Ridiculously too long; so I simply cut it down to "Asian Stir Fry Soup". I didn't use the green onions though; it was just an unnecessary addition that wouldn't have added much more to the dish itself.

Oh, and to my friend Heidi's mom, Trish; yes, I used the Calphalon Wok!

...and here you go.

Asian Stir Fry Soup


¾ lb (12 oz) medium sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp ground white pepper
4 Tbsp canola oil plus 2 Tbsp
½ lb each chopped boy choy and shredded Chinese (Napa) cabbage
¼ lb snowpea pods, strings removed
¼ lb mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger root
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
½ lb (8 oz) roasted pork tenderloin, sliced thin


Mix together shrimp, cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper in sealable plastic container; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In Wok or large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil on high heat; add bok choy, cabbage, pea pods and mushrooms; stir fry for 5 minutes; remove. Add 2 tablespoons oil; cook shrimp until pink; about 2 minutes; remove. Add in garlic and ginger root; stir together until they begin to sizzle. Add in broth, cornstarch and oyster sauce; stir and let it come to a boil. Add back shrimp and vegetables; add in pork and mix thoroughly; let cook additional 3 minutes together.

Makes six servings.

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Candy in my Cheesecake.

Usually I put off making cheesecakes until the holiday season, but I had promised to make one as a thank you gift; and I keep my promises, especially when it comes to food. I knew exactly which one I was going to make, my Toffee Shortbread Cheesecake; a bottom layer of crushed shortbread cookies; a creamy layer of cream cheese mixed with mascarpone.

The candy bits are usually found in the baking aisle, crushed Skor candy pieces, or Heath Bar bits. Now both contain chocolate as they're the actual candy bars crushed (you can do the same if you can't find the packages in the baking aisle). I noticed that Heath Bar has a package called "Bits o' Brickel" which is only the toffee part of the candy bar broken up; no chocolate. I also noticed a big change in package weight; I used to buy 10 ounce packages and now they have been reduced to 8 ounces. May not sound like a big difference to you, but it is to a person who uses the product for baking; I will live with it though.

Anyway, lets cut to the chase and get to that luscious cake. I use one trick when making cheesecakes, baking the cake in a bain marie (French term meaning "water bath"). The cake pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, rests inside a glass baking dish. Water is poured halfway up the outside of the cake pan; as the cake bakes, the water and batter equalize in temperature inside their respective dishes; the cake bakes evenly and does not crack.

By the way, that crack you see in the above photo; that is what happens when you don't use the correct utensils when moving an entire cheesecake from the springform pan bottom to a serving cracks!

Toffee Shortbread Cheesecake


1 (12 oz) package shortbread cookies, crushed
½ cup melted butter
2 (8 oz) packages mascarpone cheese
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
½ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) bag Heathbar or Skor candy bits


In a small bowl, mix together the crushed cookies and butter until crumbly, but still moist. Cut out circle of parchment paper that will line the bottom of a 9” spring form pan. Use nonstick baking spray on bottom and sides of pan, press parchment circle to bottom; spray paper with nonstick spray. Press mixture onto bottom and quarter way up the sides of the pan; place in refrigerator to set for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream together mascarpone, cream cheese, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in candy bits, but do not over mix. Pour mixture into pan; wrap aluminum foil tightly around the exterior of the pan. Place pan in center of a 3 quart baking dish; pour water halfway up side of pan being careful not to get any water inside the pan or foil; bake for one hour. Partially open oven door; let cake cool for half hour before removing pan from baking dish and placing in refrigerator overnight. Carefully remove spring form pan before slicing and serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Triple the Chocolate, Triple the Oh My!!!

So after my misadventure with Chocolate Lava Cakes, I decided not to give up, but to try something a little different. First off, my son loved the lava cakes even though they had not come out correctly. He'd warm them up, cover them in whipped cream and sliced strawberries and just indulge. So, not a complete failure, just a new dessert treat.

Going through my cabinet of baking goods, I found three bags of chocolate that were partially used. Now what do I do about this? Make cookies? Make three types of treats? Or, put them all into one dessert and see what happens. Let me tell you that the role of mad scientist does come into play at times when cooking or baking in the kitchen.

...well, this is what I came up with, and I've heard no complaints except. "this is so full of chocolate!" Like that's a bad thing?

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes and Frosting


4 ounces each of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
5 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
½ tsp baking soda


Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners (24)

Heat one inch of water in bottom half of a double boiler. Place in all chocolates and cream; stir occasionally as chocolate melts until smooth (about 8-10 minutes); cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat (medium speed) together eggs, sugar and vanilla until creamy; add chocolate mixture and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the flour and baking soda; beat for 30 seconds or until all the flour is incorporated into the creamy mixture.

Divide the batter evenly between the 24 paper liners. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out cleanly from center of cupcakes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.


5 ounces each dark and milk chocolate, chopped
6 sticks unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
6 Bliss white chocolate squares (place in refrigerator to firm up for grating)


Place chocolate in microwave safe bowl; at 15 second intervals, melt chocolate, stir; repeat until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine melted chocolate with butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla; beat on low for 5 minutes. Gently fold in white chips; frost cupcakes and grate the Bliss squares over all.

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

Mary Cokenour